First building in new district is a concrete church

Nameless Architecture eschews the usual shopping centre or office block for something more spiritual in Korea
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RW Concrete Church, Byeollae, South Korea - Nameless Architecture
RW Concrete Church, Byeollae, South Korea - Nameless Architecture

Normally new districts put themselves on the map with a shopping centre or an office block. How refreshing then that with the RW Concrete Church, Byeollae, on the outskirts of Seoul, is starting with a religious landmark. Furthermore, it's a building that wouldn't look out of place in our book Concrete.

It’s the work of Nameless Architecture, a young practice with a foot both in South Korea and the US. The RW Concrete Church (denomination unspecified) is one of the first buildings to go up in the new district of Byeollae, south-east of the capital, and will be “part of a new urban fabric”, the architects hope. It’s concrete through and through, from the structure to the finish.

 

RW Concrete Church, Byeollae, South Korea - Nameless Architecture
RW Concrete Church, Byeollae, South Korea - Nameless Architecture

The choice of material is no accident, as the architects believe it has function as well as form. “Concrete reveals its solidity as a metaphor for religious values that are not easily changed in an era of unpredictability,” they say. Large areas of glazing let light into certain floors.

Nameless have given the whole building a spiritual quality, by fashioning a crucifix form from the profile. This is made out of the rectangular bell tower and the second floor, which is cantilevered.

“The cross as a religious symbol substitutes for an enormous bell tower and is integrated with the physical property of the building,” the architects add. “The minimised symbol implies the internal tension of the space.”

 

RW Concrete Church, Byeollae, South Korea - Nameless Architecture
RW Concrete Church, Byeollae, South Korea - Nameless Architecture

While worshipping and religious ceremonies will take place in the austere chapel on the second floor, community activities will transpire in the shelter of the ground floor terrace.

For more on contemporary building, please take a look at The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century Architecture, the Phaidon Architecture Travel Guide App, and our recently launched online Atlas. You can sign up for a free trial for that here.


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